AETNA LIFE INS. CO. V. DUNKEN, 266 U. S. 389 (1924)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Dunken, 266 U.S. 389 (1924)

Aetna Life Insurance Company v. Dunken

No. 62

Argued October 14, 1924

Decided December 15, 1924

266 U.S. 389


1. A finding of a state court that a contract was completed -- a pure question of fact -- held not reviewable by this Court where the federal right involved depended on the legal question whether, the contract being completed, rights and obligations under it were governed by a local statute or the laws of another state. P. 266 U. S. 393.

2. A seven-year term policy, issued by a life insurance company in Connecticut and delivered to the insured in Tennessee where he resided, provided that, at the sole option of the insured, upon any anniversary of its date, without medical reexamination, it was convertible into a twenty payment life commercial policy, bearing the same date and issued at the same age, on payment of the

Page 266 U. S. 390

difference between the premiums then already paid and those required under the converted policy. The insured in due form exercised the option after he had become a citizen and inhabitant of Texas, and the converted policy was sent to him there.


(a) That the second policy was in effect but a continuation of the first and, like it, was controlled by the laws of Tennessee. P. 266 U. S. 395.

(b) That, in an action upon the second policy in Texas, where the insurance company was doing business when it issued, a Texas statute (Art. 4746, Rev.Civ.Stats.1911) imposing a penalty and allowing attorney's fees could not constitutionally be applied against the company, since a state cannot regulate business outside of her limits and control contracts made by citizens of other states, in disregard of their law. P. 266 U. S. 399.

248 S.W. 165 reversed.

Error to a judgment of the Court of Civil Appeals of Texas which affirmed a judgment for the amount of a life insurance policy, less certain offsets, together with a statutory penalty and attorney's fee. The supreme court of the state dismissed an application for a writ of error for want of jurisdiction.

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